For more than three decades law enforcement officials and the nation wondered what happened to Etan Patz, the 6-year-old who disappeared in his SoHo neighborhood while on his way to the school bus stop on May 25, 1979.
Now, on the 33rd anniversary of the boy's disappearance, someone will be brought before a court to answer to charges in the case.
Pedro Hernandez, 51, a former stock clerk at a bodega near Patz's family's Lower Manhattan home, confessed on Wednesday after hours of questioning to killing Patz. Hernandez, who was taken into custody from his Maple Shade, New Jersey, home is expected be arraigned Friday, 33 years to the date from when he allegedly lured Patz off the street and into the basement of a bodega with the promise of a soda and choked him.
It was the breakthrough police have been seeking for years and perhaps a burden Hernandez wanted to let go of for just as long.
He was remorseful, and I think the detectives thought that it was a feeling of relief on his part, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the media Thursday. We believe that this is the individual responsible for the crime.
On police records Hernandez is charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors are expected to file similar charges, according to reports.
According to the New York Times, Hernandez was under suicide watch Thursday, but was later transferred to Bellevue Hospital Center early Friday.
At a press conference on Thursday evening Kelly said investigators were in no position to comment on Hernandez's mental condition.